For several weeks in September, as thousands upon thousands of ruby-throated hummingbirds pass through towns near the Gulf of Mexico in their fall migration, thousands of people gather to watch them. Visitors flock to nature centers and backyards to watch the frenzy at the hummingbird feeders, and organized festivals offer speakers, workshops and hummingbird-themed goods to buy. Participants see large numbers of these tiny metallic-green birds up close and can learn one amazing thing after another about them.
Lamar Story, the chairman of the Rockport event, said that he went through 40 pounds of sugar last year during the two-month-long hummingbird migration, which starts in mid-August and tapers off to a few stragglers by mid-October. At peak season, his yard is full of the birds. "It sounds like you're standing in the middle of a beehive," he said. "The birds will be buzzing all around you."